Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Historic Job Growth in 2022 Reflects Strong but Uneven Economic Recovery

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released state and unemployment data for December 2022, which the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) used to analyze employment changes for the entire year.

EPI found that nationwide, the U.S. economy added 4.5 million jobs in 2022. This makes 2022 the second-strongest year for job growth in the past 40 years (2021 was the first).

Public sector employment continues to lag behind private sector employment. According to EPI, state and local government employment is still 2.3% below pre-pandemic levels as state agencies, school districts and local governments have struggled to fill vacancies.

The American Rescue Plan earmarked $350 billion for the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. However, as of October 2022, state and local governments have only used 40% of the available funds.

EPI calls on state and local lawmakers to use the remaining funds to invest in filling public sector vacancies.